Usually, change takes time. When you are looking to lead any kind of change in your practice, there is typically a period of time where you can plan, collaborate, and adjust to change. But right now, veterinary practices across the country are rapidly changing, evolving, and adapting to new situations. As the practice owner or manager, your ability to lead the changing landscape of how your practice operates, how your team communicates and collaborates, and how you continue to provide exceptional patient care is crucial for how successfully your team can adjust. Use these three tips to help lead change during times of change.
1. Change is personal
We often think about change as something that is methodical or procedural. The truth is, for change to be successful, your team must change their own individual behaviors. That’s not easy, and it’s typically not something that happens overnight. But you can support your team in adapting quickly by focusing on coaching and goal setting for individuals and teams.
2. Set realistic expectations
No one has faced a situation like this before. Not you or your team. Set reasonable and realistic expectations for your team…and yourself. Mistakes will be made. People will struggle, or may even be resistant, to changes that are being made. If this happens, be there to help coach and support these individuals. Don’t expect immediate perfection, but instead acknowledge and reward progress. Encourage your team and celebrate even the smallest successes in order to gain positive momentum.
3. Leaders have to go first
In order for any change to be successful in your practice, you – the leader – must be willing to embrace the change first. Leading by example and changing how you work is one of the biggest ways to actually cause change in others. If you don’t go first, there’s a good chance no one else will follow.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that change only happens when your team, and you, are fully engaged in making change happen. It’s easy to tell your people how to change and hope for the best. But, just pointing to a new destination won’t necessarily make people want to go there. Moving toward a new way of doing things isn’t always easy, but if you lead by example, help your team, and encourage and coach individuals who need support, amazing results can happen.